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UXUA Casa Hotel & Spa Trancoso, Bahia, Brazil

Hotelhighlights

Iconic location directly alongside the UNESCO-protected town square
Lush surroundings of mangroves, gardens, and beaches
Cooking lessons and community-style kitchen areas

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Wrack your brain for a visual image of "paradise," and it's likely somewhat in tune with UXUA, a veritable oasis whose tropical gardens and whitewashed walls are nestled directly upon an UNESCO-dubbed town square dating back to the 1500s. Modern embellishments are the signature of Wilbert Das, former creative director to Diesel—though it's worth noting that while that brand is revered for splash, here Das's style is refreshingly pared down, with the sole dazzle coming courtesy of the beachfront sunsets.

Queen rooms start at $415

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Master the renowned Brazilian art of capoeira with private lessons on the beach—and cap it off with a massage as well.

Hotelfacts

  • Vibe and atmosphere

    By day, friendly monkeys scurry up trees lining the mosaic pool, while on the nearby beach guests flock to the antique wooden boat that serves as the hotel's bar (how's that for low-impact?). Come nighttime, guests are lured back from wandering the adjacent neighborhood with promises of the smoky Bahia specialties sizzling on the grill.
  • Overall look and feel of the rooms

    The eleven casitas, handcrafted by Bahia locals, serve as stunning aesthetic testimony to the virtues of simplicity: they're mostly alfresco, with crisp white linens and private kitchens. Ingenious fixtures like reclaimed tree trunks and vintage furniture are subtly incorporated in each space.
  • Service style

    If UXUA is paradise, its friendly staffers are the angels. See for yourself with a heavenly organic treatment in the Almescar Spa, or order a poolside passionfruit caipirinha—they're absolutely divine.
  • Preferred room type

    Branches and limbs shoot through the roof of the split-level Eugenia, the largest of the casitas. With its top-floor balcony overlooking the gardens and a kitchen that spills outside, there's little wonder the suite has been labeled a "masterpiece of rustic modernism."
  • Unique property features

    Though Trancoso traces its western roots to a 16th-century Jesuit settlement, it wasn't until the 1970s that the tiny fishing village—whose population up to that point barely capped 300—saw a boho-chic revival, courtesy of curious artists who flocked to the idyllic setting in vibrant, energetic drones. UXUA pays tribute to these biribandos, as they came to be known, with an ongoing "Artist In Casa" program showcasing the creative output of native and international visionaries; there's also plenty of indigenous folk art on display throughout the property.